Senator McKellar: Politics and Death

Senator McKellar: Politics and Death

By Ray Hill When author Mark Twain was informed a newspaper had printed his obituary, he tartly replied, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”  Tennessee’s Senator Kenneth D. McKellar was seventy-seven years old in 1946 when he sought reelection for a sixth term.  McKellar had been ailing, although he seemed busier than ever, […]

Cordell Hull & the Election of 1920

Cordell Hull & the Election of 1920

By Ray Hill Cordell Hull had been in Congress since 1907 when he had only narrowly won the Democratic nomination, which inside Tennessee’s Fourth Congressional district was tantamount to election. Hull, only thirty-seven years old at the time, had been nominated by less than twenty votes. There were rumblings about a recount, but Hull went […]

Cordell Hull & the 1922 Election

Cordell Hull & the 1922 Election

By Ray Hill Cordell Hull, for fourteen years the congressman from Tennessee’s Fourth District, had lost his reelection bid in the 1920 Republican landslide. Tennessee had lost three longtime incumbents during the 1920 elections: besides Cordell Hull, Thetus W. Sims of Tennessee’s Eighth District and John A. Moon of the Third District had been beaten. […]

Cordell Hull & the Income Tax

Cordell Hull & the Income Tax

By Ray Hill Congressman Cordell Hull of Tennessee is frequently credited with being the “Father of the Income Tax.”  Today, that is likely a dubious distinction.  When the income tax was first approved in 1913, the tax code was fifteen pages long.  Today, the tax code is more than 74,000 pages.  Hull first came to […]

Ray Blanton, Part 5

Ray Blanton, Part 5

By Ray Hill Ray Blanton had achieved his long sought after goal of winning statewide office in Tennessee with his victory in the 1974 general election. Blanton had defeated Republican Lamar Alexander decisively in winning the governorship. Ray Blanton had always campaigned as a populist, putting together a coalition that encompassed traditional Democratic voting blocs. […]

Ray Blanton, Part 4

Ray Blanton, Part 4

Ray Blanton emerged from the 1974 primary as the Democratic nominee for governor of Tennessee. It had been a contentious primary in with twelve men competing for the nomination. Blanton had barely edged banker Jake Butcher to be the nominee. The Republicans had their own primary with Nat Winston, Dortch Oldham and Lamar Alexander running […]

Ray Blanton, Part Three

Ray Blanton, Part Three

By Ray Hill After having lost the 1972 race for the U. S. Senate to incumbent Howard Baker by a wide margin, Ray Blanton found himself out of Congress. Blanton returned to Tennessee and immediately began planting the seeds for an expected bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1974. Democrats were shocked by the […]

Ray Blanton, Part Two

Ray Blanton, Part Two

By Ray Hill Tennessee had lost a congressional district in the redistricting in 1971.  Congressmen Ray Blanton and William Anderson, both Democrats, would likely have run against one another if both sought reelection.  Anderson flirted with a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination while Blanton had his sights set on the Senate seat held by […]

Ray Blanton, Part One

Ray Blanton, Part One

By Ray Hill Ray Blanton is little remembered today save for one thing: the corruption of his administration. Compared to many of Tennessee’s more significant historical figures, Blanton’s political career was not long, but it was impossible not to notice the man who became governor. While Ray Blanton was considered by many to be a […]